Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Nelson Sisters Celebrate the Older One

Yes siree, it's now her turn to get the theme treatment!  Along with a bouquet of flowers
brought right to her door.  (Those flowers had to bring a bit of cheer inside as outside it was a horrible, rainy, cold mess.)  Soon these two sisters would be drenched...see visual of our drippy selves.

The original celebration plan included a train ride to the city to
go to a restaurant that would go along with the 2017 birthday
theme.  That was scrapped to use car transportation only. Also
Baby Anderson was soon to arrive and the location had to be close
by.  We called this the new Plan B.

Let's cut to the chase: what is the theme for this year? I know you want to know. 
Simply put, it's Simple Joys. Plan A was to go to Joy's Noodles & Rice. It's a Thai
restaurant on Broadway.  But with the nasty weather and a need to find a related-to-theme restaurant,
close by I was stumped.  I decided to instead think of a restaurant that would bring joy to mind, and that became a no-brainer:  Tre Kronor on Foster Avenue.  We have shared so many happy occasions there: graduations, Christmas, family gatherings.  The food is always great and the ambience is cozy and comfortable.  Simple. We would have breakfast there.

And her cake would be an oozy, gooey, warm cinnamon roll.  And look!  With those swags hanging
from the ceiling, doesn't it already look like a party in progress? No matter that the rain was building up to a crescendo of wetness! Visual below.
We enjoyed a lovely meal and the restaurant wasn't too crowded. The gift basket was presented
right there and then.
Nothing like red and aqua colors to get the idea of joy across!  As well as pom poms, red and white striped string and funky tags on each gift.  Each one was given as a way of appreciating the simple things in life like mornings, sunsets, chocolate, words, etc.  Another visual, yes?
This is what the front of the tags look like and the numbers indicate the order in which the gifts
should be opened.  The tags are backed with old book pages cut to size.  Note:  oops on #9. Twice.
I may or may not have been on pain meds following hand surgery when I crafted the tags.
The red word strips have the Simple Joys to be celebrated. I used a Dymo device for this.
Examples of the gifts included:  Singing for this ceramic bird that can be hung from a tree branch in the garden:
A photo book made from our recent Florida trip.  

And here's a look at the whole collection unwrapped.

There's a lot to be said about celebrating the Simple Joys in everyday life.  There's a lot to be said about taking time to celebrate the advancement of years.  There's a lot that can be said about shared memories throughout the course of decades.  There's a lot that can be said about the joys of having siblings!

Plan B also included going to a movie afterwards. A movie in which a young woman has no siblings,
has been brought up by her father who loves to make clocks, is happiest when reading books, has no time for the brawny-but-no-brains buffoon, and ends up befriending a Beast who lives in an enchanted castle.  There's joy to be found in this place, too.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Nelson Sisters celebrate the Younger One.

We kicked off the celebration by being with youngsters - an auditorium full of them to be exact!
The usher escorted us to the front row, on the aisle. The performers were dancing on the stage while playing ukuleles and guitars as a pre-show when we arrived.

Following this toe-tappin' and knee-slappin' time, the production of THE HUNDRED DRESSES
(at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts and performed my the Chicgo Children's Theatre ensemble) was underway. If you read my New Year's blog, you will know I have a special connection to this children's book story written by Eleanor Estes in 1944.

It was just so good.  Diann humored my birthday wish to go to a children's play performance
with no rolled eyeballs.  That's the mark of a truly supportive sister to go to a play with only kids in the audience when we came with no kids ourselves. She's a keeper, that's for certain!

Following the 10:00 AM show, we walked to a nearby French restaurant for lunch: BISTRO ZINC.

The food was just delicious and the wait staff very attentive.

And look what the end of the meal included!

A flaky cherry tart! Ooh la la!!

Seeing as we are the sisters who exchange themed gifts, I couldn't wait for the next part
coming up: the "reveal" of theme 2017. We headed out to the City Nest from here.

Oui!! It's the theme of P E A C E and also my Word of the Year.

Wrapped in cheery turquoise and yellow papers with accents of grey and white, it was perfect
for banishing the blah of this winter season grayness.

Did you notice all the cute tags on the gifts? Yep, she made them!

Each gift had a special connection to the word peace. A set of three blog-to-book(s) featuring the adventures of the Nelson Sisters was the cherry on top this birthday treat.

Am I not one lucky mademoiselle to have her for my soeur?

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

The National Gallery of Art last November.

Above:  West Building
What a museum and what a collection housed in the National Gallery of Art!  In both the West
Building (opened in 1941 and home to works by the old masters such as Botticelli, Carpaccio, 
Durer, and da Vinci; also home to impressionists such as Monet, Manet and Morisot) and the East Building (opened in 1978/reopened in 2016 and home to works by modern and contemporary artists such as Rothko, Calder and Picasso) this place inspires!
Below: East Building

Certainly, I could go on and on and on about the collection.  But not this time.  I'm choosing to highlight a special exhibit I saw - and was blown away by in the West Building. It was the 
work done by Stuart Davis. Born in Philadelphia in 1892, he began his formal art training in 
NYC at the Robert Henri School of Art at around 17 years of age. He was a painter.

His subject inspirations were common objects such as salt shakers, kitchen appliances, spark plugs and cigarette packages.
Cubism played a huge part in his works.

Can you see the salt shaker here?

How about th kitchen mixer?  It's the white form towards the left side.

Something for the mouth?

But I liked his Parisian Street scenes the most.

His colors.  His colors.  His colors.

It was also interesting to see how he reworked his ideas.

Leaving this gallery made me feel like a champion of this artist! And we have something in common to boot --- I like to rework ideas and projects, too.

Note:  this exhibit closes March 5, 2017.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Taking on the Outside Monuments last November.

On the last full day in DC, and with Wes still conferencing, I knew I needed to see the White House, the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, the World War lI Memorial and the Vietnam Memorial.
And I needed to wear my seasoned walking shoes and just do it, tired feet or not!
White House in background, a perky tourist in the foreground. (Stick around to the last picture when she's not so perky and the weather did a complete turnaround.)  The first stop was the World War ll

Both of our fathers had served in this war; many veterans were visiting.  Thank you for your service.

Next stop:  The Lincoln Memorial. Climbing the stairs = 5 floors.  Just thought you'd like to know.

View of the Washington Monument from the Lincoln Memorial: no crowd estimations attempted here.

From here I walked to the Korean War Memorial.

My father had served in Korea.  I would've liked hearing him talk about it, but like so many others, he had few words on this experience.  I know he ended up with malaria due to his time there.

Next destination: the haunting Vietnam Memorial.

With thanks to the nurses who served in the war, too.

As Americans, let us never forget those who served in these wars.  Let us never lose our
desire for peace.

If you're ever in Washington DC, please try to visit these outdoor remembrances.

Fall is a great time to visit; just remember to dress in layered clothing and prepare for changes
in the weather!  By the end of this day, the temps had plummeted, the winds were gale-force and torrential rains were coming!

Maybe a prediction of things to come in January??

Monday, January 23, 2017

The National Museum of African American History and Culture last November.

Of all the places I wanted to visit on the Washigton DC trip, this was number one.  
It opened to the public on September 24, 2016; I tried to get online tickets beforehand to no avail. At our hotel, the desk personnel advised me to just show up at the museum three hours before it opened (and don't bother to do this on a Friday or weekend).  As one of the "hottest" free tickets in town, and part of the Smithsonian campus, I had high hopes to get inside and experience what others raved about.
And luck was certainly with me and I made it in! 


I honestly felt changed and challenged by everything I saw.

In most museums, the dwell time is 45 minutes to two hours. Not so in this museum.  With three floors on the Concourse levels pertaining to history from 1400 to 1968 and beyond, and four more floors above this with interactive gallery, sports, military, stage, musical, visual arts and theatre, it's mind-boggling on how to take it all in. And take it all in.

An unexpected exhibit tucked away where fewer museum goers (and school groups) were visiting was
one of my favorite gems:  the hats of Mae Reeves.

How well I remember a time when women wore hats to church and for dress-up occasions.
And how well Dorothy Mae Reeves will be remembered for her gumption in opening up her own millinery shop in the 1940s in Philadelphia and serving customers such as Ella Fitzgerald, Lena Horne, and Marian Anderson.